Perspective · Uncategorized

9/11

I remember exactly what I was doing.

I was a freshman in college. Ford Hall Room 208. My bed was lofted. My roommate Angeline’s bed was perpendicular to mine under the loft.

I had Intro to Engineering as my first class that morning.

My alarm clock went off. I didn’t snooze it. That was something we had discussed as “forbidden” after our first week of cohabitating. Actually, Ang (best friend) threatened to “punch you (me) in the face if you don’t stop that snoozing s**t. Don’t set it if you don’t plan on getting up.” (We are real with each other like that.)

She had already left for a 7:30am class across campus.

The sun was shining in our east window thru the blinds. The cinder block walls were painted a cream color. I felt for my glasses. I turned on our dorm room television. I like noise while I get ready.

The first plane had hit the World Trade Center a few minutes earlier. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. The reporters weren’t sure what was going on either. At this point it was just a News Special Report.  I sat with my legs hanging off the loft. Still wrapped up in my turquoise and green comforter.

We have a family friend who I consider an uncle. He’s a pilot. I immediately tried to confirm with family that he wasn’t flying with that airline.

I remember looking at the clock. I had to get dressed for class. The professor took attendance as part of the grade. I checked my email to see if he had cancelled class. I needed to know what was going on in NYC. Surely he would cancel class!

As I was pulling on my pants, the second plane hit. I recall sitting on the floor next to her bed. This wasn’t an accident.

This wasn’t an accident.

This wasn’t an accident.

The news showed things falling from the buildings. Not things – PEOPLE. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends.

I cried, completely stunned by what I was witnessing LIVE on television.

I had to leave for class. I threw my backpack on and hiked across campus to Fiedler Hall. Worthless class. What was going on?

When I returned to my room after class, I learned that two more flights had crashed- into the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. I was glued to the news for the remainder of the day.

The bright blue sky was dotted with only white clouds. No jet trails. Just clouds.

The rescue efforts. The fear. Sadness.

But in all this, the nation pulled together. People prayed. We held vigils. We made contact with those around us to comfort, support, and provide kindness.

9/11/2001. I will never forget.

9/11/2001 Timeline.

Jen & Jon (2)
We were young and naïve. Just figuring the world out when 9/11/2001 happened.

 

Perspective · Uncategorized

August 21

Today is Eclipse Day! We will be a little over 98% totality. I look forward to stepping out of the office and checking it out. The last eclipse I was awake/ alive/ aware enough to witness, I remember doing the pinhole method with some cardboard on the sidewalk following strict instruction NOT to look at the sun. Hopefully I get some good footage or pictures!

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Today is the first day of the first full week of school. The kids were DRAGGY this morning. Cross your fingers for us. This will be a long week. We already had a tearful time-in in the littlest one’s bedroom after a complete meltdown because daddy touched and offered to help put the frosting on a toaster strudel. Eeeek…

Today is the day of the month I schedule all online payments at work. The password book and I get reacquainted. I generally end up frustrated, muttering curses at my computer, and change a few passwords as some sites have started requiring frequent changes. Ugh. Cyber security.

Today I sent a bag of cucumbers with my son to give to a teacher at school. I wish there were about half a dozen more people who wanted cucumbers. I pick every 3-4 days and end up with 15 pounds or so at each picking. Most local gardeners have high production this year, so there aren’t a lot of people willing to take a bag. Last week I literally walked down the street offering them to people. The peppers have also picked up. Today I will find a few more recipes to use with jalapenos and garden salsa varieties and hit my mom up for her pickle recipe.

Today I read an article I didn’t agree with. It was a well-written opinion piece. Although I believe the author had some valid points, I thought it only described one side of the coin. It didn’t color outside the lines of her personal stereotypes. It left very little room for compromise to be found or a constructive path forward unless you agreed with her. Instead of making me indignant of my experiences, it broadened my horizon in that I am now aware of a very different belief set than my own. Isn’t that how constructive dialogue begins?

Today is August 21. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

 

Perspective · Uncategorized

The Finger Wag

Does it ever feel like people everywhere around you are wagging their fingers in disapproval?

You talked to who?giphy

You were blatantly, yet gently honest about what?

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You fed your kids that?

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You didn’t post anything about this online?

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You get the picture. Everybody has an opinion about what, this, that, who, when, where, and why.  And bless them, thanks to an online presence, they feel the need to share it. Unfortunately, a lot of people are of the reactively, firm feeling that we must all agree on it on every unique detail as well.

Here is where things get sticky. As in all families – and in this nation we are technically one big family – it is incredibly rare for details to be agreed upon. For pete’s sake, have you ever tried to set a time for a holiday with 40 relatives???

What I am pleading for people to ponder is that we don’t have to do everything loudly and as an instantaneous reaction. Consider this Heineken beer ad titled “Worlds Apart.” It suggests actually sitting down for a civil conversation instead of instant judgement and finger wagging.

I offer this and the survey below as a thought process in approaching almost ALL differences of opinion – even the simple ones like if I caved and bought generic Lucky Charms instead of granola for their yogurt.

Do a little mental survey before typing that comment:
1) Is this worth my energy to disagree and debate?
2) Am I coming at this from a place of seeing the big picture or just my own microcosm?
3) Is my response bitter, hateful, and laced with expletives or factual, respectful, and willing to discuss?
4) Is it possible to seek a compromise? Why or why not?
5) Have I prayed about it?

Monday morning, I was praying about a situation. Specifically, I was asking for peace in my heart over it. As I was praying, it occurred to me clear as day, that maybe I wasn’t supposed to feel peace in this moment? Maybe I was feeling the unease so I could address and work to resolve it. Goodness, that isn’t the easy, comfortable road I was hoping for…

Sometimes thoughtful silence isn’t a blissful moment of ignoring or condoning tough events. Rather, it is part of the process of seeking the best path forward to resolution. An explosive reaction or opinion rarely does anyone well in the long run. So please, stop wagging your finger at me for not joining in the fray.

 

 

**Due to the timing of my post, I’m aware that some may read into this blog entry as being specifically about Charlottesville and/or the state of race relations in the USA. It isn’t. That is feeding into my thoughts, but this is not a direct reflection of that. I am absolutely not condoning or approving in any fashion the behaviors, beliefs or hateful mindset that went into that situation. It was/ is a tragedy. With rare exception, I am not a reactive person. I am processing and trying to understand, other than feeling extreme sadness, nausea, and frustration, how and where to direct my efforts to improve and contribute to our nation healing as a family.**

 

 

 

Family · Perspective · Uncategorized

Escaping the heat

Escaping the heat- also known as a vacation to the Rocky mountains!

Hiking, camping, enjoying nature, and more hiking!

The kids did very well! We were caught in a thunderstorm with lightning and hail while out on the trail at one point. They put on rain ponchos and we made a fantastic memory together!

The heat at home has been stifling. Daytime highs 107 to 111 F. The temperatures in the mountains ranged from 48 to 86. Gorgeous weather. Breathtaking views.

Uncategorized

Where are my fossil peeps?

geology

Any ideas as to what these fossils are? I picked these limestone rocks up near the local wildlife reservoir in Kansas, USA during a fishing trip. The layer where these are located is 2.5-5cm thick. Each black fossil is about 1cm in length.

I’d love to hear anyone’s ideas as to what these might be?

I’ve always had an interest in rocks, fossils, and the environment around me. My favorite college classes were Oceanography (right… in the middle of the continental USA), Astronomy, and the outlier here – Human Growth and Development. I think the last one had more to do with the AMAZING professor who taught it. Ecology of the Environment was a good one too. Mineralogy was tough due to the fact that my eye correction is super high and that seems to make microscope work difficult. — I’ll end my tangent here. —

Back on track – if you have an idea of what sort of creature or plant may have created these fossils, I’m all ears!

Perspective · Uncategorized

Carpool playlist

Yesterday’s carpool playlist. Short and eclectic with my personalized commentary.

Number 1.

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This song has mad bongo skills and is one of my personal favorites for kitchen dancing. Also a dance song at the end of “Despicable Me.”

Number 2.

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I just want to celebrate… Another day of living! Generally speaking, this is my personal motto. I know how fragile life is and that the faultiness of the human body is inevitable. So celebrate today and that your heart is beating. You have a purpose today!

Number 3.

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No amazing message here. I just enjoy Panic! At the Disco and his amazing vocals.

Number 4.

imageI enjoy singing to this one. My parents thought her voice was like fingernails on a chalkboard when I was in high school.

Number 5.

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Come on Patty. Get it together…  Classic country with a great beat. Seriously can’t beat Prime Country if you’re a fan of country music.

Yesterday I had about 90 miles in carpool driving with school drop off, then preschool pickup at 11, followed by the 3:15 1st grade crew and being the drop-off for CLASH youth group. And of course, my job in between all these jaunts to the school and back out again to the office, occasionally grabbing filters or a part for the guys in the shop. I get to do almost the exact same thing today!

You may have noticed KIDZBOP on the menu. KIDZBOP makes my ears bleed… but occasionally I’ll click on it as a distraction for my littles. If the song is terrible and has a bad message, I turn it off again.

I introduced the kids to Scott Joplin a few days ago in the form of the Entertainer. It’s such a fun song to play on the piano! They weren’t quite sure about its entertainment value… Guess I’ll just have to keep introducing them to new – read it: old – music!